News & Features

Group Sues U.S. for Information About ‘Secret’ Grazing Program

Lawsuit says the program puts private ranchers in charge of grazing on public lands

BOISE, Idaho — An environmental group says the U.S. government is running a secret cattle grazing program in six western states and won’t release details.

Western Watersheds Project in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court says the Interior Department is unlawfully withholding information from the public about an “outcome-based” grazing initiative.

The group is asking a federal judge to force the government to release information about the program in Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.

The group says the program puts private ranchers in charge of grazing on public lands without regard for wildlife such as sage grouse and endangered salmon.

Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the program in 2017 that he said would provide grazing permit holders an unprecedented level of flexibility.